April is a transitional month in Newfoundland and Labrador. Parents start to recover strollers from storage and seasonal workers begin about prepping for their busy summer.
And like every transitional season, April is preceded by a rough and tumble month. Namely March, the month of winter that has long overstayed its welcome and often gives us one last good licking before we put our shovels away. March tricks us each year into thinking spring is early, only to slap you in the face with Sheila’s Brush. No wonder we insist on drinking heavily smack dab in the middle of it.
March is also ominous in Newfoundland and Labrador because it is when we resurface on the international environmentalists’ (a.k.a. opportunists’) protest calender. This is a result of the annual east coast seal hunt, which is scorned outright on the world media stage. We are engaged in a publicity battle with many heads (and even more publicists) and we’re losing.
The environmentalist groups have made inroads that may be entirely impossible to reverse and they’re making them on our home turf.
Younger generation has no idea
Many young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have no sense of why the seal hunt is an integral part of our culture and are thus opposed to it. This generation is more influenced by the countless celebrities who condemn the hunt as inhumane and barbaric. This indicates the seal hunt will likely cease if advancements aren’t made to more effectively battle the deluded youth and radical environmentalists.
Explaining that this is a regulated hunt, just like any other hunt, is useless. We have tried this tactic to no avail for decades. We might as well abandon it. Also, stating that the hunt’s visibility unfairly exaggerates the gore factor accomplishes nothing. Everyone knows the ice-floe makes for a grotesque canvas; it has been exploited most effectively by the other side for years.
And the fact that we eat animals loses all credence because we don’t eat these particular animals. This, then, is my recommended launching point for the new campaign.
I propose provincially sponsored cooking competitions where the top chefs in Newfoundland and Labrador take the Seal Meat Challenge. Basically, it functions like any other cooking competition: a key ingredient is supplied and participants are encouraged to find the most innovative (and delicious) ways of preparing said ingredient.
The intention would be that some of these recipes actually make it on to menus around the city, where locals and tourists alike could be (re-) introduced to the plentiful source of protein.
Think with your stomach
We can continue to parade around wearing our T-shirts and buttons until the cows come home, but that passive activism will accomplish zilch until we start eating the bloody beasts.
Besides, if we can make them delicious the environmentalists will back off. They don’t want to work for their millions in donations (why our particular hunt has been so attractive in the past). It has been pretty easy to milk the bleeding hearts until now, but inject some full-on stomach conflict and we might finally have a fair fight. Or at least a fairer fight.
In order to even things out, I suggest we convince a hot local celebrity who is both bold enough to support, and charming enough to defend, such a controversial hunt. Fight fire with fire.
Deck this celebrity out in seal fur products and send him or her all about the place. If our young people only respond to manipulative, ignorant visuals abused by the likes of PETA, then let’s capitalize on this. Advocacy at its best.
Sure, what’s Allan Hawco up to these days?